Beginning a 6mm Wars of the Roses Project

A few years ago I began a Wars of the Roses project in 28mm. While I’d intended it to be an open-ended project, progress was slow and eventually stalled completely. Recently, I decided to revisit the period in a more manageable scale.

I am intending to use the Perfect Captain’s “A Coat of Steel” rules, and these build armies by generating contingents with variable components. This seems like a good way to model the armies of the time, where, particularly when it came to arrayed troops, you might not always be able to get the men you want. The problem in practical terms with this approach is that you need a pool of figures larger than your army to draw from, in order to cover the variables. This is one of the reasons that the 28mm project stalled, but is much easier to deal with in 6mm.

The other issue with this method of building armies is that you need a lot of small bases to build your units. Also, the game cares about which troops are in the front rank, so there’s limited scope for using multi-bases. In 28mm, the bases were 40mm squares, but in 6mm I went for 25mm square bases to cut down on the total figure count. When it comes to 6mm, I much prefer to do bigger ‘diorama’ style bases, but that’s not feasible here which is a shame.

^ First of the Neville and Percy forces

Having already started this period before, I had already gone through the whole business of deciding on bill to bow ratios. This is something that can generate unreasonably heated discussion on wargames forums, broadly split between those advocating a 1:1 ratio and those favouring a higher ratio of archers. I feel that the argument hasn’t been conclusively made by either side, but there’s a fairly comprehensive discussion here. Regardless, it’s something you have to decide on before starting, unless you’re using a set of rules that mandates a particular ratio.

There are some different approaches I took to accommodate 6mm. Livery badges aren’t going to be visible at this scale, but wherever possible I would put the badges in the centre of chest and back for major nobles, even if they would normally be on the left chest only. I think you need more obviously visible cues in this scale.

^ Some reinforcements added

In 28mm, I’d avoided the distinctive large ‘swallow tail’ standards as I felt these were likely to have only been used in static positions, but these standards are so iconic of the period, I decided to include them in 6mm, for Earls and higher at least. Again, with the figures themselves not carrying much detail, I think it’s important to use every other means to make the army look like it ‘belongs’ in the genre, even if this sometimes means resorting to cliche. The standards are also more readable in 6mm than a lot of the heraldic banners, many of which in this period are too complex for 6mm. Inevitably, banners and standards are enlarged at this scale to make them more visible.

The figures are based on 25mm square 2mm mdf. Some Mininatur 2mm static grass was applied with an applicator, and then bits of clump foliage added

I’m sticking to the period up to 1461, and initially just 1461. So I’ve started with retinues for Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick and Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland along with their supporters. Progress has been quick so far, but there’s still a long way to go.

^ More reinforcements including command groups for Fauconberg, Bourchier, Roos and Grey.


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